Dear Church Family,
Back when I was about five years old, I had my tonsils out. I don't remember much about that experience except the Jello. I just had the second surgery of my fifty-nine years on this planet to have a small umbilical hernia repaired before it went any further and ruined my summer beach plans. It's mostly considered a genetic issue, but lifting and pulling and overdoing "stuff" probably moved it along. Anesthesia is a most wonderful thing! I was talking to Bonnie one minute and the next I was being told it's done, get dressed and go home. And what do I get to eat for the next 24 hours? Yep, Jello. Cherry Jello at that! I hope this stuff is in heaven because it is so good.
Last night, coming back from a fire drill, one of our NOFD volunteers asked if I had my Will done. Turns out, he and his wife had just done theirs and wanted to talk about it. I shared that yes, Bonnie and I have our Wills prepared, along with Advanced Directives and a Compassionate Care Protocols. We all hope for a long, pain-free life followed by a simple death, but we live in a world where there are few guarantees. Except one.
In reading and studying from the book of Luke these last few weeks, I've been struck again by the radical call that Jesus gives to those who choose to follow Him. "Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don't take any money with you, not a traveler's bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don't stop to greet anyone on the road." Luke 10:3-4, NLT. I like how Brian McLaren translates this passage, "It's time for you 70 to go. I'm sending you out armed with vulnerability, like lambs walking into a pack of wolves. Don't bring a wallet. Don't carry a backpack. I don't even want you to wear sandals. Walk along barefoot, quietly, without stopping for small talk."
"When the 70 completed their mission and returned to report on their experiences, they were elated. 'It's Amazing, Lord! When we use Your name, the demons do what we say!'" ...Jesus said, "Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don't rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven!" Luke 10:17, 19-20, NLT.
Wow! Did you get that? Nothing to fear as we tread this dangerous world! The guarantee is that as people who are registered in heaven, everlasting life is ours. So, don't be afraid of anything: snakes, scorpions, surgery, planes, trains and automobiles, or strangers both foreign and domestic. Nothing. Because your life is hidden in Christ and no one, one even demons, can take that from us. Guaranteed.
So, let the adventure (mission) begin! School's out. Summer is here. And tomorrow I can put some whipped cream in my Jello and life will be that much better!
In His Matchless love, Pastor Tim